The Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute

December 15, 2011 06:32 ET

The Fraser Institute: Quebecers Donate Less Money to Charities Than Other Canadians While Americans More Generous Overall

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - Dec. 15, 2011) - Quebec is the least generous province when it comes to private charitable giving, concludes a new report from the Fraser Institute, Canada's leading public policy think-tank.

For the 13th year in a row, Quebec finished last among the provinces in the Fraser Institute's annual report on monetary charitable giving, Generosity in Canada and the United States: The 2011 Generosity Index.

Using personal tax return data from 2009 (the most recent year of comparable data available), the report found that Quebecers donated just 0.30 per cent of the total income earned in the province to registered charities, less than all other provinces. The report also found that just 21.7 per cent of Quebec tax filers claimed a charitable donation on their income tax return, the same percentage as in British Columbia and ahead of only New Brunswick (21.2 per cent) and Newfoundland and Labrador (20.8 per cent).

"For years, Quebec has trailed other provinces in terms of private charitable giving," said Filip Palda, Fraser Institute senior fellow and professor at the École nationale d'administration publique.

"This lack of giving hampers the ability of Quebec charities to help families in need."

Generosity in Canada and the United States: The 2011 Generosity Index measures and compares private monetary generosity in Canada's 10 provinces and three territories, and in the 50 American states and Washington, D.C. using readily available data on the extent and depth of charitable donations as recorded on personal income tax returns. The complete report is available (in English only) at www.institutfraser.org.

Among Canadian jurisdictions, the report ranked Manitoba as the most generous overall, followed by Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island (tied for second), and then Alberta and Ontario (tied for third).

Manitobans donated the highest share of total income at 0.89 per cent-nearly three times the amount donated by Quebecers (0.30 per cent). Had Quebecers donated the same share of total income as the Canadian average (0.64 per cent), Quebec charities would have received an additional $892 million in private monetary donations in 2009.

Manitoba also had the highest percentage of tax filers donating to registered charities (26.0 per cent), compared to only 21.7 per cent of tax filers in Quebec.

For the average dollar value of charitable donations, which does not factor into the overall index, Quebec was last among the provinces and territories at $606, less than half the national average of $1,399.

When the overall Generosity Index scores were compared across the 64 North American jurisdictions, Quebec placed 59th overall. Manitoba, Canada's highest-ranked jurisdiction, tied for 34th overall.

Utah was by far the most generous jurisdiction in North America, with 33.4 per cent of tax filers donating 3.09 per cent of the total income earned in the state-more than 10 times the share of aggregate income donated by Quebecers.

No American state or Canadian province gave a lower share of its total income to charity than the 0.30 per cent donated in Quebec.

"The bottom line is that Canadians, and Quebecers in particular, are less generous than Americans in terms of monetary donations to charity," Palda said.

In comparing Quebec and the United States at the national level, monetary generosity in the U.S. surpassed that of Quebec, with 26.6 per cent of American tax filers donating to charity, compared to 21.7 per cent of Quebec tax filers.

"Had Quebecers matched the generosity of their American neighbours by donating the same percentage of total income, Quebec charities would have received an extra $2.7 billion in private contributions in 2009," Palda said.

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of 85 think-tanks. Its mission is to measure, study, and communicate the impact of competitive markets and government intervention on the welfare of individuals. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit www.fraserinstitute.org.

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